Sunday, June 07, 2009

Daily Painting Practice - 30 self portraits in 47 days and counting

Just another rainy day in the studio. I made my semi annual trek to the art store to re-supply. I usually take two big shopping days per year re-supplying the studio, with occasional side trips for special purchases. This August in addition to teaching a daily painting workshop at the Joslyn Art Museum, I will be doing a once a week, for 4weeks, plein air pastel class at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha for the Joslyn.
As you are well aware, I am not a natural plein air painter... add pastel into the equation and I am really out of the comfort zone. However, nothing is gained by not trying new things.

The photo above is me sitting in the studio trying to come up with a way to make my own sanded panels for pastel. I found a recipe for Marble dust and gesso ( here). I'm trying it out on everything. Canvas boards, mat boards and watercolor paper. I'll let you know how it works.
You can tell I'm faking it because there's no paint on the brush. This was going to be my self portrait today but I decided against it. I placed this old...unfinished... painting of a dog out on the easel because it matched my shirt.
I have a bad habit of mixing paint on top of previous mixed paint on my palette. This can make the colors all start to look the same gray color or like mud. Instead of progress photos of random stages of the painting, I thought I would show you stages where I made myself stop and clean the palette. The practice of cleaning off your palette and getting new fresh color is one I learned (again) at a painting demo at the OPA show last month.

This was stage one. Underpainting blocked in. Wipe off the palette, get up wash your hands, put on another music CD.
This is stage two. Half-tones developed ready to think and add details.... wipe of palette, put out fresh paint if needed, get up wash hands, make some tea.
Click on the painting to enlarge the image

Sitting Back
Self Portrait - Day 23
oil on canvas board

Stage 3- sit back and enjoy!
Doing so many self portraits gives you an opportunity to examine yourself and to see yourself in new ways. Here's one view I would never see of myself....
"Where did that bald spot on the back of my head come from?"

Sometimes I get discouraged and need to sit back from a painting. That's just the time my director of studio
morale /wife always manages to plant a kiss in that spot.


Gail Sauter said...

Hi Peter,

I'm really enjoying your self-portrait quest. Thanks so much for taking it on!

I have a few thoughts for you regarding the pastels. I'm a Master in the PSA and making my own supports has been a long-time endeavor of mine. I'm certainly not the world's authority, but here are some ideas for you to try:

- you can get very fine pumice from your dentist
- try wallpaper paste and water instead of acrylic gesso if you want a 'thinner' less visible background application.
- try painting onto Gatorboard for rigid boards or (my current favorite) non-buckle artboards (Google them). If these are new to you, they're great - only 1/32 inch thick, archival and they stay flat.
- Art Spectrum makes a nice pre-mixed solution (comes in lots of colors - handy when time is short). It also comes in clear which is great to layover your prepwork without smudging it - or for covering only portions of the piece with pastel and allowing other areas to remain untouched.

Hope this is of use - and have fun getting dusty!!

Gail Sauter

Celeste Bergin said...

Peter..I really enjoyed reading that--especially the final line. I was just thinking recently how much my husband has supported me in my art journey. A kiss on the top of the head is such a small thing---but such a huge thing. Thanks for the inclusion of that intimate made me smile and think about my own good fortune.
Nice painting, BTW.

Kathy Jurek said...

Peter I have enjoyed watching your portrait progress immensely and I really like this one. I only got two portraits done and I'm not crazy about either one so I am in AWE of your accomplishments even if it's taking longer than 30 days. Keep up the great work!

René PleinAir said...

Wow your still at it, it's becoming a huge series Peter,
and what a series it will be.

About the panels, have you ever noticed this thread on Wetcanvas?

> More Panels, .... eeeeek!!! < By Marc Hanson.

Ed Terpening said...

This came out great. Bravo! said...

Really like the dog painting! I used to hunt quail with an English pointer. They are so beautiful on point.

Diane Hoeptner said...

Wonderful!! Really glad to discover your blog.